History of Art

Gain insight into over two millennia of artistic achievement, and develop the visual literacy skills to interpret a wide variety of art. This course covers painting, sculpture and architecture from across Europe, from Classical Greece to the modern day. As well as tracking trends across time, there is a thematic focus on how artists respond to either nature, identity or war.

What skills will I develop?

You will develop your command of basic concepts, Your ability to describe and analyse a work of art, and your knowledge of geographical and historical art movements.

By the end of the course, you should be able to look at any painting, drawing, sculpture or building and analyse it critically in terms of its composition and historical context.

What topics will I study?

Component 1 – Examination: Visual Analysis & Themes (3 hours, 20 minutes – 50%)

  • Section A: Unseen painting, sculpture and architecture
  • Section B: Themes (A choice of Nature, Identities, or War)

Component 2 – Examination: Periods (3 hours – 50%)

  • One from the following sections:
  • Section A: The Renaissance in Italy (1420 - 1520)
  • Section B: The Baroque in Catholic Europe (1597-1685)
  • Section C: The British and French Avant-Guarde (1848-99)
  • Section D: Modernism in Europe (1900-39)
  • Section E: British and American contemporary art and architecture (1960-2015)

Where does the course lead?

History of Art will prepare you for careers including conservation, museum curatorship, teaching, journalism and the Civil Service, and it’s useful for degrees such as Art History, Classical Studies, English and History.

Exam Board


Head of Department

Liz Bentley-Pattison

Entry Requirements

Five grades 4-9 (or equivalent)

Assessment Breakdown

Examination = 100%